Tuesday, January 21, 2020

2020 Ecuador Cotopaxi Skills Expedition (Trip 2: Jan. 18 - 27, 2020) Dispatch 1

Ecuador High Altitude Trip Report

Romel Sandoval

Climbers: Taaryn W., Geneva B., Diana S., Stephen A., Tom W., Philip B., Timothy M., John C., Marcus B., Richard M.

January 20, 2020

Romel called to give us an update on the program.

We are off to a good start after meeting in Quito Saturday evening for dinner. On Sunday we did an orientation on the program and a gear check followed by a city tour of the old part of Quito.

Today, Monday, we drove from Quito to the Pasochoa Wildlife Refuge for our first acclimatization hike. Everyone in our group (10 climbers) did very well and was able to make it to the summit of Cerro Pasochoa which is 13,776 feet or 4199 meters. s 4,199m/13,776ft

4,697meters or 15,413 feet. I would say everyone had a wonderful time on the hike. They were feeling good, and while people hiked at different paces that were most comfortable for them, I think each person was feeling quite strong.

I think I would class today's weather as "very crazy." The day started off cloudy with showers from time to time, then the clouds would break and the sun was out. It was gorgeous. And then in the distance there thick clouds and thunder – which never reached us. Very changeable and unusual for this time of year.

Here is Diana to provide some updates:

Hello from Ecuador. The first thing I have to say is that Romel and his team of guides have been incredible! They have a great sense of humor and are wonderful instructors. I'm not sure I can list all the good things about them. Today was a lot of fun, and we were so happy that everyone did well, felt good, and made the summit. We are happy and in a very good mood! It is fun to be in such a beautiful country. As Romel said, the weather was hit or miss plus some welcomed sun, and the food was just fine. We're all working up good appetites! And the snacks and lunch Romel and team provided gave us just the energy we needed. Here's Romel again. Bye!

Tonight we are staying at our hotel the Reina Isabel in Quito, and tomorrow we'll do another acclimatization hike, this time on Cerro Rucu Pichincha which is 15,413 feet or 4697 meters. After our ascent tomorrow, we will drive to Hacienda Guachala near the base of the first big peak we will be attempting, Cerro Cayambe. Then we we will move up to the hut on the mountain for two more nights of acclimatization plus some skills training for the glacier climbing.

We are all looking forward to tomorrow's climb on Rucu Pichincha. We will try to call after the climb with an update. That's all the news for now!

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